Jack encounters Monarch troops that can move during a time stutter, and that have abilities similar to his own. He then enters the epicentre of Ground Zero: Will’s old workshop.
Jack’s status as a living chronon generator allows him to use any weapon during a time stutter, but Monarch Striker units do not have that same ability. Therefore Monarch developed this ‘stutterproof’ weapon. The Tactical SMG is a precision weapon that fires accurate 3-round bursts, and it does not kick up as you fire. (Unlike the Burst Fire Pistol, which has quite a bit of kick with every burst.) Holding the trigger down will continuously fire 3-round bursts one after another, with a negligible reduction in accuracy. Its bullets are similar in power to the standard SMG, but the brief delay between bursts means that the Tactical SMG’s rate-of-fire is effectively far slower, causing it to have a rather low damage-per-second. Therefore the Tactical SMG can best be summed up as ‘precise but weak’. It also has a small magazine size of 24 bullets (enough for 8 bursts), and Jack can only carry a total of 96 bullets.
The main body of the Tactical SMG is based on the real-life Kriss Vector submachine gun, but with the addition of a special attachment that extends a Striker’s personal chronon field around the gun. Concept art shows more intricate designs for the stutterproof weapon modification, but in the actual game the electronic devices have been hidden away inside a plastic casing, with only a chronon radiation warning symbol hinting at its function. Curiously, Technicians are able to fire Burst Fire Pistols during stutters, despite the Burst Fire Pistol not having any similar stutterproofing attachment. (Perhaps pistols are small enough to be enveloped by the personal chronon field without any modifications.)
The first type of ‘stutterproof’ enemy encountered in the game. Stutterproof troops are equipped with a ‘chronon harness’ on their back that generates an artificial chronon particle field, allowing them remain active during a time stutter. This also makes them immune to Time Stop, in fact their stutterproofing will immediately collapse Time Stop bubbles. Although the chronon field is the source of their abilities, it is also their Achilles Heel. Enemies equipped with chronon technology freeze in stutters when the device on their back is destroyed. This may actually be a non-lethal option, as destroying a trooper’s chronon harness should leave him alive and well once the stutter collapses, assuming he isn’t killed by the device exploding. Destroying 15 chronon harnesses gets you the ‘Break All Their Toys’ achievement.
Strikers are Monarch’s elite chronon tech units. They are armed with Tactical SMGs and wear white hazmat suits that protect against chronon radiation. Their suits and helmets are also armoured for combat operations, making them almost twice as resilient as a SWAT Trooper. As an added extra, Strikers can rush across the battlefield in the blink of an eye. They move too fast to see but leave streaks of orange energy in their wake, similar to Star Trek ‘warp trails’, or the yellow lightning left by The Flash.
This ability is made possible by four bulky ‘prongs’ that surround the central core of a Striker’s chronon harness. These are additional field projection units that allow the Striker to manipulate his relationship to his personal Meyer-Joyce envelope, giving him the ability to cross short distances in quick bursts. A Striker’s belt includes a number of devices such as a processor and battery for controlling and powering the chronon technology. Similar to Jack’s own Time Dodge and Time Rush powers, a Striker’s superspeed even works during a stutter, as the Striker can fold deeper into the stutter and briefly inhabit a smaller subdividing moment within a larger one.
Strikers cannot fire their weapons while they are zipping around the place, so they have to return to normal time to shoot. However if you stay in one spot for too long they may try to Time Rush into you and perform a melee attack. Fortunately it is easy to avoid this attack, simply by moving while the Striker is warping towards you, and even if it does connect it does not do a significant amount of damage.
It takes ten shots from a Pistol or Assault Rifle to defeat a Striker’s body armour, and Strikers will often use their ability to warp away the moment they start taking damage, making weaker rapid-fire weapons pretty ineffective. While headshots are more effective, it can takes 3 or 4 headshots to kill a Striker with most weapons. Strikers do have a special vulnerability to shotguns, however; a single close-range blast to the chest can kill a Striker, even though the total damage from 8 shotgun pellets should not sufficient. Also, the chronon harness on a Striker’s back is not well-armoured. Shooting it doesn’t do as much damage as a headshot, but it is more effective than a body shot, and the bulky chronon field projectors are quite a large target. A powerful weapon such as the Carbine Rifle can pierce a Striker’s helmet or destroy his chronon tech with one carefully-placed shot.
According to an email from Martin Hatch to Clarice Ogawa, the men chosen to become Strikers need to meet strict physical requirements, have ‘a certain moral flexibility’, and ‘the kind of killer instinct you have to be born with, cultivated to a fine degree’. They also need to have the intelligence and skills to handle the complex technical aspects of operating the technology.
Monarch operatives wearing yellow environment suits to protect against radiation exposure when working on Monarch’s chronon technology. The chronon harness on the back of the suit allows them to stay active during a stutter, or to operate in an area with time anomalies such as Ground Zero. It does not grant them any other special abilities, however, as it lacks a Striker suit’s additional field projectors. A Technician’s hazmat suit is not armoured, so they have the same health as Light Troopers and can be killed by just 3 Pistol or Assault Rifle bullets, or 4 SMG shots. Headshots are instantly fatal. They also have an additional weakness on their back, as a Technician can be frozen in a time stutter by destroying his fragile chronon harness.
Technicians are armed with Burst Fire Pistols, which are not particularly dangerous. Of more significance, however, is that they carry chronon grenades that will temporarily cancel Jack’s powers. These ‘portable chronon suppression devices’ drain your energy and completely empty the meters for all time powers. Getting caught in the blast of one of these grenades while fighting with a large group of enemies can be disastrous.